I finally got around to reading an article from the February issue of Wired about a team of maritime salvagers. (My first few attempts to read it ended quickly because the first two paragraphs are such boring, cliched trash.) Here's a particularly funny moment:
Reed and Habib crawl along the tilted deck, periodically consulting a drawing of the ship's internal compartments. They rap their knuckles on a piece of steel — this is the top of the low-side ballast tank. Trepte pulls out a drill and bores down. Suddenly, water erupts. The tank is already full and pressurized — water must be flowing in through a broken vent on the underwater side of the ship. It sprays furiously. They have unwittingly caused the worst thing possible: The deepest cargo hold is flooding.
In an instant, Trepte covers the hole with the tip of a finger and presses hard. The sound of gushing water abruptly stops, and the shouts and curses of the moment before echo through the hold. Salt water drips off Mazdas, and the panic the men all felt transforms into a contagious laugh.
Trepte is keeping the ship afloat with one finger.
"Well, I guess the tank is already full," Reed chuckles.
"Very funny," Trepte says. "Now whyn't some of you smart chaps go figure out how to fix this bloody mess."
While Habib races to the Makushin Bay to find a solution, Mayani plugs the hole with his finger to give Trepte a break. They go back and forth for an hour and a half before Habib returns with a tapered metal bolt to jam into the hole. Their fingers took a beating, but now they know that the tank is full. Reed enters the data into his computer model, runs the numbers, and tells Habib how much water he needs to pump into the high-side tanks. It's time to roll the ship.
Click here to read the whole thing, plus photos and video.
Pictured: Colin Trepte, Lead Salvage Diver
*Full disclosure: I'm a big Dirk Pitt fan (the books, not the movies).
**On the same topic, I highly recommend the nonfiction book Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea.